Preserving metadata for blame/praise through whitespace changes

John Arbash Meinel john at
Mon Jul 6 19:21:15 BST 2009

Hash: SHA1

Michael B. Trausch wrote:
> Hello,
> Alright, so I realize that this isn't really an issue of a VCS, since
> *all* VCSes that I am aware of do this:  When you go through en masse
> and do a formatting change, such as correcting indentation, you lose the
> utility of the blame/praise functionality.
> For example, I just fixed the indentation in the AllTray source code
> repository (Vala-mode in Emacs didn't work the way I thought and I could
> not figure it out at first, so I had quite a lot of history "wrongly"
> indented). I fixed that, but now the files are all largely the last
> commit, by me.  I can "bzr blame -r-2" to see the real information, but
> that isn't terribly useful until more history is present since the
> indentation change.
> So, I have two questions:
>  1. Is there something I should have done that would have preserved
> "blame" data?
>  2. If there is nothing, is there some way to educate bzr that
> whitespace-only changes should not factor in to things like diffs and
> output of commands like "bzr blame", or perhaps, be able to be removed
> from consideration by the addition of an extra parameter?
>     Thanks,
>     Mike

It isn't something that you can do now, but adding a "bzr annotate
- --ignore-whitespace" is something that I would like to eventually get to
with my refactoring of annotate.

I'm currently in the process of restructuring the code (at the moment
just to make it faster), but I have in mind to allow various policy
parameters such as:

1) Ignore whitespace
2) Mainline commits only (so you get an annotation of when things
*landed* not when they were committed)
3) I already have support for tracking more than one source revision (so
if someone does a cherrypick, you can potentially see that both the
original and the cherrypick introduced this text.)

Keep an eye on:

I probably won't do --ignore-whitespace as part of landing that branch,
but when I implement it, I'm sure it will be built from there.


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